One of my goals this year is to try new things and step out of my technological comfort zone. I want to learn more about STEM, coding, maker spaces, and everything else in our ever-growing field of edtech, both for me and for my students. So this year, when two of my colleagues in the math department offered to help facilitate lessons, I jumped right in. And it was great.
Not only was it fun, but I had some important takeaways from the experience:
What I Learned in #HourofCode
1. Students already know coding.
2. Coding is a Gateway to #FutureReady
My colleague, Mr. Goldberg, shared surprising facts about coding and computer science with us, and I explored further at code.org. I found the graphic below along with this statistic: there will be one billion computing job openings by 2022---around double the jobs available right now. We often talk about what it means to make out students #futureready, about the types of jobs they will have that don’t yet exists, and about the classrooms of tomorrow. I didn’t realize how much of an opportunity #HourofCode was to help prepare students or interest them in one possible future.
3. Coding is Fun!
I’ve always enjoyed codes, math, HTML, and logic. But I was amazed at how much fun all of #HourofCode exercises we explored were. Many reminded me of the old-school Mario games of my childhood, where you move the character in four directions to achieve a task, only now you are writing or dragging and dropping blocks of code to make that direction come to life. In so many ways it was like building a video game--a connection I hadn’t made before. The students seemed to really enjoy it, and although I loved watching them explore, I had even more fun playing and coding myself.
4. Coding is for Everyone
From the geeks who shall inherit the world to NBA stars or from high school seniors to elementary students, anyone can code. I was so impressed by the variety of activities I found on code.org, the ages they appealed to, and the creativity I saw from my PLN online. Below is a video and Tweet from a colleague at the middle school, and it was great to see #HourofCode embraced throughout my district, and to experience it as shared learning throughout the year.
This day really opened my eyes; I can see such great applications for my students just in the few activities we explored: Storyboarding in Tinkercad. Depicting characters from textual evidence. Convey elements of plot by building a Star Wars universe. Exploring shapes through the Frozen ice skating challenge. These fun, easy, and intuitive exercises could have big gains in teaching students #futureready skills and in bringing a different side of technology into my classroom.
I had a blast with the #HourofCode and would love to hear how you implemented it into your schools or classrooms.
cross posted at www.aschoenbart.com
Adam Schoenbart is a high school English teacher, Google Education Trainer, and EdD candidate in Educational Leadership. He teaches grades 10-12 in a 1:1 Chromebook classroom at Ossining High School in Westchester County, NY and received the 2014 LHRIC Teacher Pioneer Award for innovative uses of technology that change teaching and learning. Read more at The SchoenBlog and connect on Twitter @MrSchoenbart.